North Carolina State will need upgraded performances from key members of its team as it moves forward without one of its top players.
So far, that has happened at a pretty good clip.
The Wolfpack aim to continue that when facing Central Connecticut State on Tuesday night in Uncasville, Conn.
“Our team is tough,” Wolfpack guard Casey Morsell said. “We are still trying to figure things out, especially with Manny (Bates) going out. We are constantly trying to adjust. We need to figure things out on the defensive end, but at the end of the day we found a way.”
Bates, a center with superb defensive credentials, re-injured a shoulder in the opening minutes of the first game and will be lost for the rest of the season. NC State went on to defeat Bucknell in that game and then topped Colgate on Saturday.
The 77-74 decision against Colgate included 22 points from Morsell, a junior transfer from Virginia, and 21 points from Dereon Seabron. Those were career-high totals for both players.
Seabron has two double-doubles in two games.
“We’re happy that our guys stepped up to the challenge,” NC State coach Kevin Keatts said.
Keatts said Morsell continues to make strides as he adjusts to a new system.
Now, after taking on a pair of Patriot League teams, it becomes trickier as NC State (2-0) ventures away from home for the first time.
“You have to execute. You have to get stops,” Keatts said.
First-year Central Connecticut State coach Patrick Sellers said preparation for major-conference opponents goes only so far.
“You just can’t duplicate that size and that length,” Sellers said.
Central Connecticut State (0-2) began with a loss at Connecticut and then fell 75-57 to Brown on Sunday despite leading with fewer than 14 minutes remaining. The Blue Devils gave up 11 baskets from 3-point range in their latest game.
Central Connecticut State, which was 5-16 last season, has won just one of its last nine games dating to last season.
The game, which is considered a neutral-court matchup, is part of the Basketball Hall of Fame Showcase. The Wolfpack face Oklahoma State on Wednesday night, while Central Connecticut State will face UMass-Lowell earlier in the day.
–Field Level Media